Day 17 Starving

I’m starving!

No, I mean it, I am always hungry.  And the unimaginably cruel truth is that when I was a child I never really cared that much about food. When I think of all the cheeseburgers, fried chicken, ice cream and French fries I consumed as a child and with never a thought of calorie intake or fat content or cholesterol consequences. Free to eat myself into a junk food coma if I so desired. How wonderful to be blithely unaware that the gravy train would some day come to a screeching halt and I would one sad day be looking at a rice cake as my tragic evening snack! While I have no background in psychology, I am acutely aware that my bottomless pit is reflective of all manner of hungers.  I believe we are all hungry: hungry for healing, for understanding, for encouragement and for companionship. Mostly, I think we are hungry for God.

We tell ourselves that we hunger for more money more security, more affection, more food, but in actuality what we are craving is that presence of the Divine. We are famished for belief that our life has significance and that a supernatural encounter with wisdom, beauty and fulfillment is possible. It does not take a remarkable amount of materialism or self-indulgence to acknowledge the unfulfilling nature of these goals. The Catholic tradition that I work and minister within will be proclaiming the story of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes this Sunday. Many of the significant biblical stories involve food and Jesus’ concern that those around him be fed. At the end of his ministry when describing himself he does not use a financial or military metaphor – he says, “I am bread, I am wine.” “I am food and I am drink.” And just as we need nourishment and hydration to stay alive, so too, we need the Holy.

This journal entry was inspired by an editorial I read in the New York Times on Wednesday by T. M. Luhrmann where she explores the distinction between “belief” and church attendance. Luhrmann writes, “God is good. The world is good. Things will be good, even if they don’t seem good now. That’s what draws people to church . It is understandably hard for secular observers to sidestep the problem of belief.  But it is worth appreciating that in belief is the reach for joy, and the reason many people go to church in the first place.” I agree that we go to church in spite of the multiplicity of our beliefs but also that in church: in the communal silences, in the recitation of ancient prayers, in the congregational singing we finally experience fullness, completion, answers and questions and finally…….. .an occasional breathtaking encounter with our loving and forgiving God. What are you hungry for when you go to church? What happens there that satisfies you? Tell me.

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5 Responses to Day 17 Starving

  1. JUST READ THIS ARTICLE!! EVEN HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD SPIRIT IS GUIDING US, DEAR MATT!
    BLESSINGS FROM SPELLO!!!

  2. Sue Cardoza says:

    Church is my safe house. I know that no matter what is happening in my life or how I’m feeling that particular day, I will be received with unconditional love. The kind of love that God’s holy people shower you with is like no other. There is this certain silent agreement that we will hold each other in prayer, in care, in love, in the tenderness of each of our hearts. This feeling is then multiplied when we break bread together and share even more. The God who feeds us, literally and spiritually always delivers! When I’m at Nativity of Our Lady, I know that God is waiting to fill me with exactly what I need to face any challenges or fears and I am sent off to Keep Calm and Carry On!

  3. Wm. "Gus" Gocella says:

    I have always liked this story and it hasn’t changed in 75 years. What has changed is why I go to church and what I/we get from participating in the Sacraments together. I think the gifts (food) received in God’s House are ever changing with our age and what is going on in our lives. When I was young I went probably because my Italian family required (loaves and fishes) me to go, if I wanted to eat. As I aged that repetitious attendance was addictive and I wanted more (love and understanding) but for other reasons. Now I/we go for reasons that affect our lives at that time. As one ages, you start thinking of the hereafter and sharing eternity with God and your desire increases (more love) and want to be sure we make that journey(with a full belly) and end up at the place that you desire, the table of the Lord.

  4. Sylvia Deck says:

    Your reflection reminded me of a perfect quote for this weekend, from St. Augustine: “Christ is the bread, awaiting hunger.” My hunger is for connection – to the Divine, the Other, the person sitting next to me. When it happens – and it’s usually during the Communion Rite when it does occur – I’m more than satisfied. I feel as if I’m overflowing with grace and have more than enough to share.

  5. Pingback: ash wednesday | The Province of Joy

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